by Frank Li, Ph.D.
In an earlier post, I stated: “today’s Chinese government is of the business, by the business, and for the business, while America remains a country of the people, by the people, and for the people.” Did I imply that the fundamental difference between America and China really comes down to this: people vs. business? Yes, in a nutshell!
“We, the People”, so begins the U.S. Constitution. But who are “the People”? By the founding fathers, “the People” meant [chiefly] the rich white men only as follows:
(1) Point 1: By “white men”, they meant that the women were not allowed to vote, nor were the minorities.
(2) Point 2: By “rich”, they meant that you must be rich enough to serve, unpaid in the top political offices (e.g. Congress and the Presidency)! Yes, you make it first (i.e. being financially independent), then you serve with honor for a few years, and finally you go back to where you come from. No, serving was never meant to be a way of life, not to make a living, let alone a career!
I think Point 1 was wrong but Point 2 was right. Point 1 was wrong because I, as a minority, deserve my right to vote. Point 2 was right because I believe only after you have become financially independent are you likely to serve well, especially at the top, with your priorities absolutely right: country first, constituents next, and personal agendas last!
Over the past 200 years, America "fixed" not only Point 1 but also Point 2. As a result, today, all Americans (18 or older) can vote - a good thing! But the elected officials are often not the “rich” people. In fact, after WWII when the “servants” started getting paid more than the “masters”, most of the American politicians have been serving for one overwhelming purpose only: getting re-elected ad nauseum! In other words, they serve themselves first! Worse yet, they try to get re-elected at all costs, even if it means to destroy America by emptying her treasury! As a result, most of our politicians, including the President, have their priorities completely reversed: personal agendas first, constituents next, and country last. Still wondering how and why America is so deeply in trouble? Wonder not - It’s the political system, stupid!
In China, everything important is [still] named “the People’s”. Three examples:
(1) The name of the country: The People’s Republic of China.
(2) The army: The People’s Liberation Army.
(3) The money: The People’s money or Renminbi (or RMB for short).
However, just like communism, this “the People’s” thing exists, today in China, in name only! China changed from a theoretical form of of/by/for the people (1949-1976), which turned out to be a total disaster, to a practical form of of/by/for the business (1977 - present), which brought unprecedented prosperity to China in such a massive scale and in such a short time span of only three decades that it was totally unprecedented in human history! What was the secret behind this China miracle? Well, among many things, China did two most anti-People things as follows:
(1) Embracing capitalism and focusing on the economy, including brutally suppressing the student-led pro-democracy demonstration on June 4, 1989.
(2) Enforcing the 1-child policy to control the explosive population growth.
Extremely controversial might be at the time, both of them are now widely accepted, inside China, as the absolutely right things to do for the betterment of the country! Big pain, big gain!
Better still for the Chinese, China is on the way to become the largest economy on Earth by 2030 (or by 2020 per IMF’s formula), thus ending America’s leadership not only economically for sure but also politically most likely. For an overview of China’s recent history, click here.
3. Toward an ideal form of government
An ideal form of government should balance between the two: people and business. Unfortunately, neither America nor China is even close to this ideal – They are two extremes at the opposite ends! Ultimately, the one who can find her own way of achieving this balance optimally will be the lasting winner. Meanwhile, the Chinese extreme seems to have an up-hand over the American extreme. Why? Because this talk of “people vs. business” is really the talk of “democracy vs. capitalism”! For prosperity, capitalism is a must, while democracy is merely an option. In other words, if you can’t strike a balance between the two, choose capitalism over democracy!
The bottom line: The Chinese love capitalism today, because it was capitalism in Europe 200 years ago that started China's steep decline, and it is capitalism in China today that finally has got China out of abject poverty that was totally devastating at the end of 27 years of socialism under Mao (which is also known as“communism” in the West). America, on the other hand, has sacrificed too much capitalism for democracy over the past five decades, and will end up with having neither! Unconvinced? Just look at the protesters of Occupy Wall Street! What do they really want? A proletarian revolution to destroy capitalism in America? “Welcome on board, comrade America,” Mao is yelling and waving, from hell!
The root cause of many American ills is its antiquated political system, nothing else! America’s economic system (i.e. the free enterprise system) remains the best in the world, despite all its problems.
Do not let America be destroyed by the proletarians together with the self-serving politicians! They will become the majority within 10 years if we follow the current path of self-destruction without fundamental changes, now. If that happens and if you have trouble envisioning what that America would look like, visit Greece today, or look at yesterday’s China. It’s terrible!
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action. Dr. Li writes extensively and uniquely on politics, for which he has been called "a modern-day Thomas Jefferson" (see page 31).